During his latest Confessions of the Hitman podcast (subscription required on BretHart.com), Bret Hart opened up about Shawn Michaels and Triple H allegedly bullying The Rock backstage before Rock became a major star in WWE.
“A lot of the wrestlers would give him a hard time in those days, a really hard time, enough to try to break him and get him to quit and they almost succeeded. And I can remember going to bat for Dwayne quite a few times and kind of looking out for him, Owen too. I think Owen and I had a lot to do with sort of looking out for him when he first came down. [The Rock] was kind of a marked guy.”
“I remember Shawn Michaels coming into the dressing room and dressing down poor Dwayne. Shawn came in and just dressed him down and he chewed him out. And I believe, [HBK] told [The Rock] to never do a top rope dropkick ever again because that was his move. That’s what he was mad about. And then, he slammed the door and he walked out. The Rock was [deflated] because in those days, Shawn had a lot of weight. He was a pretty important guy for the company, a veteran guy kind of dressing him down like that, he was apologizing and said he didn’t know, and he thought it would be okay. I remember the door closed after Shawn left and I said, ‘that’s bulls–t. That’s total bulls–t.’ I said, ‘nobody owns the dropkick off the top. You can do that. Owen does it all the time! Why doesn’t he cut a promo on Owen?’ I said, ‘they’re just busting your chops and they’re trying to work on you.’”
“Triple H was the same. He was always out to get The Rock. Shawn was out to get him and they just worked on him, and worked on him, and worked on him. And I left. [The Rock] was still in the doghouse with those guys. They wanted him [out] as bad as they wanted me out. Like, they were after him. And, for me, maybe a year later, he started getting his break and he started to take off in WWE and I’m so glad he overcame their petty bulls–t.”
“Just jealousy, and distinctly jealousy. Seeing someone that is a nice kid climbing the ladder bothered someone like Shawn Michaels or bothered Triple H so much that they couldn’t see passed it. They worked on him and worked on him and it was pretty clear to me. And it wasn’t the only time they came in and made those types of scenes. They did that a few times, but I had a lot of clout at that time too, so I could go in and make him rebound and say, ‘don’t pay attention to that stuff, you didn’t do anything wrong’ because he was still green. That’s a term we use in [pro] wrestling. He was still a rookie.” (h/t to WrestlingInc.com)
While Triple H and The Rock have been on good terms over the years, there has been a long-standing rumor that The Rock never wanted to have a match against Michaels because of their past issues.